Wildflowers and budding shrubs are the headliners of the garden this week. There are a few fading daffodils and the hellebores as well providing some pale color, but this week I focus on the coming rather than the going. Before I begin, I want to remind readers to visit The Propagator, our Six on Saturday majordomo, for guidelines for taking part in this garden sharing and for links to gardens worldwide.
1. Bluets, or Quaker ladies or azure bluets (Houstonia caerulea), start the list. A North American native, these delicate little wildflowers are numerous in patches around sunnier, open areas of the garden this year–far more numerous than last year. The first photo below shows the profusion, the second, taken a few weeks ago as bluets were just beginning to appear, gives a better sense of their delicacy and color.
2. Another woodland perennial, rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides), is beginning to appear, but contrary to the bluets, these seem fewer in number this year. Maybe it is just too early for these spring ephemerals; maybe they are a victim of our recent see-saw weather. The first and third photos more accurately capture the pink tinged color of the petals; the first captures the nearly every-other-day rain as well.
3. On the topic of rain, notice the droplets on the sepals and maroon petals of my third wildflower, little sweet Betsy, a trillium, or wake robin (Trillium cuneatum). This Southeastern US native perennial is prolific throughout the semi-shaded wooded area this year. Reportedly, the “sweet” in the common name comes from the fragrance of the flower. I can’t attest to that. Neither can tell you where the “Betsy” part comes from. But this will have a lovely open bloom very soon.
4. On to the buds. The red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is another North American, or more specifically Southeastern, native. It is a deciduous shrub, so I am always pleased to see the leaves and the buds emerge. This particular plant pleases me for another reason. It grew from a buckeye that I was given during my Master Gardener internship in 2004. I rather consider it a gardening talisman.
5 and 6. Two native azaleas compose the final two entries. The first below, Rhododendron alabamense, typically blooms in April with white flowers touched with yellow on one petal. I am certain to feature it in full bloom later in the spring. For now, the buds are promising after my concern that the azalea might be in decline last year. The second, Rhododendron canescens ‘Camilla’s Blush’ was given to me last fall. The tag says, “Light pink, fragrant blooms.” I hope the tag proves true.
In the next couple of weeks, I will follow up with the flowers of both of these wonderful azaleas, as well as with the red buckeye. But, that is it for this week. In the meantime, stay well gentle garden lovers.